I've had an uneasy feeling lately and I couldn't figure out what it was. The last 24 hours finally crystalized it, put it under the magnifying glass, and I recognized it for what it is. It's not a thing, it's an attitude being exuded by people, mostly of the male species, who exist in the outer circles of my daily life. And although they live there and no closer, their vibes have filtered into the center where I stand.
They reek of arrogance. And one particular group makes the Mean Mommies look like friendly neighbors.
They're Scout leaders. Let me clarify - Boy Scout Troop Leaders. The Middle Child joined Cub Scouts late in life, and spent one year as a Webelo before moving up. He wasn't going to - we arrived at the Blue & Gold banquet with him telling us he wasn't going to move up. Then the Boy Scouts enticed him with promises of campouts and whittling and he changed his mind. There. On the spot. The minute he crossed the bridge.
That's when the fun began. This troop has a leader and a number of assistant leaders, all men. I have known the leader and his family for years - his wife and I went to high school together, and his son, in my Oldest's grade, has been on a number of teams with him. I do not know the assistant leaders.
And that's the rub. No introductions. No "Welcome to the troop, I'm Assistant Leader So-and-So, Such-and-Such's father". Nothing. In fact, when I have tried to gain information, whether about registration, upcoming events, or summer camp, I am responded to with the same dismissive tone and attitude you get from the sales clerk of a department store at closing time on Christmas Eve.
They are going on some winter camping trip next week. My Middle Child has been assigned the shopping duty. Any guidance? Any words of wisdom? The leader's comment was "Well, you have to take the list, figure out if you have enough for the six people in your patrol, and don't spend more than $72 or your mother is donating anything over that."
Gives you the warm fuzzies, doesn't it? Thankfully the 13-year-old patrol leader, more responsible than any of the adults, recognized the look of bewilderment in the Middle Child's and my eyes and volunteered to go shopping with us. But we have to do it this weekend - he is busy every day after school. And he informed us that whoever is in charge of the shopping refrigerates the items that need to be. For a week. I have a family of five - I barely have enough room for a week's worth of food for them in my frig.
Even better, Middle Child had to ask what to pack. He was told there's a basic list in his handbook. Then they asked if he had a sleeping bag. Yes, yes, he does, a good one, an L.L. Bean -20° sleeping bag. That should be fine, right? Nope. One of the assistant leaders looks at my son, then me, and says "Dick's Sporting Goods has mummy sleeping bags. You'll need to pick him up one." Mind you, I've just shelled out $20 for the trip and another $30 for their mid-February excursion. I'm writing so many checks it's starting to feel like school with all the field trips. "And you'll need to bring his packed bag next Thursday so we can review it and tell you what else you'll need to get." Excuse me?!? No written list, you're leaving Friday afternoon, and Thursday you'll let me know if I need to spend more money for things you think he needs but aren't so necessary that you could tell me now. You know, so I have enough time to get them if they're THAT important. Because you obviously think I have no life.
I was talking to my girlfriend, who also happens to be a Cub Scout leader and whose son is moving up to this Troop next year. She recommends at the next meeting I walk up to each of these leaders, stick out my hand, and say, "Hi! I know Middle Child has been in the Troop since last year, but we've never been formally or informally introduced. I'm his mother."
There's a Good Manners Merit Badge that I'll meet the requirements on.